Photography: Foreclosed: The collateral damage
As the mortgage crisis worsens in the United States, foreclosures are claiming some innocent victims: renters. In cities and suburbs throughout Rhode Island, people who paid their rent and often signed leases are forced to pack up and leave their homes when landlords default on mortgages and banks reclaim the property, choosing not to get into the rental business. The most vulnerable, children and the elderly, become collateral damage of the subprime mortgage meltdown. A landlord who stops paying the mortgage often fails to pay the water and utility bills, resulting in shutoffs. Tenants often lose their security deposits and struggle to find the cash for a new rental property. Laws protect tenants from evictions in many situations but these laws do not apply when a bank forecloses on a property.